Elite League: Lakeside Hammers 59, King’s Lynn Stars 36
King's Lynn Stars felt the backlash as Lakeside Hammers atoned for a dismal televised home defeat by Swindon on Monday by romping to maximum Elite League points in Essex on Friday night.
The night got off to a bad start for the visitors when Niels-Kristian Iversen fell on the first turn of the opening race. The red lights did not come on at once but, when they did, it was Mads Korneliussen who was excluded and Iversen won the rerun in style, powering past Davey Watt at the end of the first lap to inflict what was to be the spectacular Australian's only defeat.
Another 3-3 followed as Mateusz Szczepaniak won his first-ever race at Lakeside, a feat few Polish riders have achieved round the tight Essex track.
It was something of a false dawn for Szczepaniak and for his team. The Pole managed only one more point, and that came at the expense of fellow-reserve Kevin Wolbert, another making his first visit to Lakeside. Wolbert himself scored only one and veteran Joe Screen failed to break his duck.
Such tail-end weakness left Stars with an almost impossible task and the home side's all-round strength saw them steadily extend their lead after breaking the deadlock with a 5-1 from Peter Karlsson and Kim Nilsson in heat three.
Stars, though, played their part in some thrilling racing, none better than the two heats in which they deployed the black-and-white helmet for double-point tactical rides.
Maciej Janowski looked set for a six-pointer in heat 10 only to be frustrated by Watt's sensational last-to-first effort.
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Iversen tried again in heat 11 and appeared to have suffered the same fate when Karlsson passed him halfway through the final lap. But Iversen kept his head and repassed the Swede on the last corner; his sole setback of the night. With Korneliussen third, that gave Stars a 7-2 and left them nine points down, still with hopes of returning home with at least one match point.
They would have needed to produce something special, however, and it was Hammers who did that, finishing with three 5-1s and a 4-2 to run up a 23-point winning margin.
The night ended as it had begun, with Iversen buried under the first-bend air fence after Watt had stormed past him on the inside at the start of the last lap. This time, though, it was Iversen who was excluded as referee Phil Griffin awarded Hammers their sixth maximum of the match.
Hammers: Davey Watt 13+1 (5 rides), Kauko Nieminen 5+2 (4), Peter Karlsson 17 (6), Kim Nilsson 8+2 (5), rider replacement, Justin Sedgmen 5+2 (4), Robert Mear 11+2 (6).
Stars: Niels Kristian Iversen 13 (5), Daniel Nermark 4+1 (4), Maciej Janowski 10 (5), Joe Screen 0 (3), Mads Korneliussen 4 (4), Mateusz Szczepaniak 4 (4), Kevin Wolbert 1+1 (5).